YSPN Sydney: Adapt and Thrive – Riding the Wave of Change

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YSPN hosted four speakers (Alyse Sue, Penny Wong, Peter Xing, Vivek Bharadwaj) across industries to explore what Artificial Intelligence and technology meant for industries in 2019, and what we can do to prepare.

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On Wednesday 17 July 2019, YSPN hosted its first ever debate exploring how technology will disrupt and enhance the way we work in the future.

YSPN was honoured to host Peter Xing, co-founder of Transhumanism Australia who shared work of Transhumanism Australia and discussed many exciting ways AI will enrich our lives in the future. Along with Peter Xing, YSPN also hosted three other distinguished speakers, Alyse Sue – Co-founder of Genomix, Vivek Bharadwaj – Data Analyst at the Iconic and Penny Wong – Co-founder of Radmis who all participated in a structured debate on the question ‘Should AI be accountable for its actions?’ The affirmative side argued AI should be accountable because users need the be assured that algorithms used in AI are explainable before they are implemented. Explainability of AI decisions will give company executives and users the confidence they need to further implement AI into their work.

The negative side raised the argument that AI technologies should be considered through a lens of product liability where the company executives are the ones who should ultimately to be held accountable. They further explored questions of how humanistic traits such as ethics, religion and gender should be imparted upon technology to make it more representative of a human. 
A key take away that both sides of the debate raised was that for young professionals to adapt and thrive in the new working world, we must not only embrace technology but we must champion it.

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YSPN Brisbane: Breaking Barriers, Glass Ceiling and Stereotypes

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On 26 June 2019, YSPN Brisbane held its marquee event for 2019, YSPN Talks: Breaking Barriers, Glass Ceilings and Stereotypes. This sold-out event brought together over 50 attendees and featured an incredibly inspiring all-women panel comprising Pam Bains, CFO & Group Executive, Strategy of Aurizon; Ratha Nabanidham, Partner at Ashurst; and Jatinder Kaur, Director at JK Diversity Consultants.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear from each speaker about their unique career journey, the opportunities and challenges they faced and how they got to where they are today.

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On 26 June 2019, YSPN Brisbane held its marquee event for 2019, YSPN Talks: Breaking Barriers, Glass Ceilings and Stereotypes. This sold-out event brought together over 50 attendees and featured an incredibly inspiring all-women panel comprising Pam Bains, CFO & Group Executive, Strategy of Aurizon; Ratha Nabanidham, Partner at Ashurst; and Jatinder Kaur, Director at JK Diversity Consultants.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear from each speaker about their unique career journey, the opportunities and challenges they faced and how they got to where they are today.

This was followed by a moderated panel session whereby the speakers deep-dived into the dialogue of 'Breaking Barriers, Glass Ceilings and Stereotypes'.  Amongst other things, the panel discussion touched on how to break barriers in order to move into senior management roles, the importance of adapting to change and up skilling, the role of personal branding and industry knowledge in career development and the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance.

The event offered insightful and practical advice for both women and men on how to overcome such challengers, step up and script their own career narratives.

 Attendee testimonials from the evening included:

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed the professionalism of the team hosting from YSPN and the speakers were so engaging and provided practical tips and guidance.
    2. To hear from each speaker on their career journey and how they got to where they are now was extremely aspiring.  The highlight for me was the panel session – it explored relevant challenges that young professionals face today and the speakers provided practical and 'real' advice on how to navigate those challenges.
    3. The event was extremely eye opening and inspiring. I felt empowered listening to the journeys of three women in very different careers, break barriers and overcome stereotypes that still challenge Sikh women today. Having a panel allowed us to get the answers to questions we’ve all asked ourselves when faced with adversity due to our gender and race. I really enjoyed the networking before and after the panel as it allowed me to meet so many likeminded people that have had similar experiences to me and share the same desire to succeed in our careers. I’m really excited to see what you guys have install next!
    4. Each speaker offered such insightful advice on breaking barriers and stereotypes. Fantastic effort by the entire team of YSPN for bringing these relevant and important topics to the spotlight.
    5. It was an incredible night of stellar speakers and as a female, I left feeling so empowered. Best of all, I got to take away key tips to help me with my career path and for that I’m grateful.
    6. Amazing event. Such diverse and fine knowledge at one platform – outstanding! Cannot wait for the next one!
    7. Thought the event was incredibly inspiring and served as a great foundation for learning how to break the glass ceiling and encouraging men to be allies too!
    8. This event has made me conscious of the challenges women face in managing cultural, family and career aspirations.  The event was an educational one for everyone, including educating us on the responsibility of men in being able to support women in being able to juggle all of these factors.

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    Walk and Talk with YSPN Melbourne

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    YSPN Melbourne's Walk and Talk event was the perfect opportunity for us to meet our fantastic members in a casual environment, and to give everyone an opportunity to meet the team and find out what YSPN is about.

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    On the 24th of November, YSPN Melbourne hosted the final event for the year, ‘Walk and Talk with YSPN’.

    Despite the unpredictable Melbourne weather, the event was an opportunity for the us to chat and mingle in a casual setting walking through the banks of the Yarra through Birrarung Marr. Walking in pairs overlooking the river, we spoke of our backgrounds, career and journeys then breaking off into groups to learn and perform a short Bhangra segment – an apt way to break the ice, learn and stay connected to our roots!

    Ending with a coffee and delicious YSPN 5 year celebration cookies at Federation Square the morning allowed us to unwind, appreciate our surroundings and community before heading into the festive season.

    Looking forward to 2019 - stay tuned we have great things planned!

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    Melbourne event 2: Connect and Grow

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    YSPN Melbourne hosted an open networking event at Melbourne Business School. The event was attended by professionals of all experience levels

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    The ice was broken early on in the evening – despite there being a diverse range of attendees, the atmosphere was warm and lively. Jokes were shared over finger-food and drinks as professionals of all ages and backgrounds got to know one another.

    The evening was divided into group activity and then lecture-style segments to provide attendees with practical networking strategies they could implement in their conversations.

    Attendees were given the opportunity to ‘work the room’ through group and pair activities. It was a great chance for professionals with less experience in networking to practice introducing themselves and getting that follow-up, as they were encouraged and reassured by the event hosts and other attendees. This allowed professionals who felt less confident to feel comfortable, step outside their comfort zone, and grow.

    In this way, the best part of the event was the support provided – we could practice networking strategies in an environment that was encouraging, friendly, and casual. By the end of the evening, everyone had built new connections and friendships with people both in and outside of their fields.

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    Sydney event 2: Getting the Yes

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    YSPN Sydney held their second event for 2018, Getting the Yes, hosting a negotiating masterclass with seasoned negotiator and academic Noa Sheer and sponsored by Allen and Overy.

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    The YSPN team identified that negotiation was a critical skill underpinning career and commercial success, and a skill that people use multiple times per day. Most interactions with colleagues are a form of negotiation. From a request for a file, a phone call or a simple task – all are examples of negotiations.

    Most interactions with colleagues are a form of negotiation

    The key insight Noa brought to the table to build on “Getting to Yes” (the negotiating bible) built upon behavioural research and managing or exploiting cognitive biases. The two focus points during the masterclass were Anchoring, and Framing; and understanding how to either mitigate them if used by your negotiating counterpart, or use them to your advantage.

    Noa used a cycle of Understand, Predict and Control in order to improve success in negotiations. In order to do that, negotiators need to:

    1. Have a sense of self-awareness
    2. Be able to identify the type of negotiation and select the right approach
    3. Be able to plan strategically for the negotiation that will unfold
    4. Be able to implement strategic rhetoric in the negotiation itself to achieve the sought outcomes

    Self Awareness

    This is important in identifying interests that underpin and drive the negotiation and resulting behaviours.

    Interests are abstract motivations, in contrast to goals or targets which are highly specific, and narrow. For example, an interest is ‘to get warm’ in contrast to ‘to get someone else’s jacket’ or ‘to get someone to turn on a heater’.

    Interests are abstract motivations, in contrast to goals or targets which are highly specific, and narrow

    A strong self-awareness will enable negotiators to not only identify their own interests, but also enable them to empathise with their counterpart to reveal the interests driving their counterparty. The overlap between these interests—the Zone of Possible Agreement, or ‘ZOPA’—is where any potential deal will happen. Additionally, coming up with a broader set of interests results in a strong best alternative to negotiated agreement or ‘BATNA’, in turn reducing the likelihood of confrontation.


    There are various different types of negotiations which are defined by their structural characteristics. For example, wrestling (value capture), gift exchange (value exchange) and mining (value creation) to be successful in each type of negotiation however, we learnt to always use an interest-based approach when you’re expecting an ongoing relationship and require commitment to the negotiated outcome.

    Wrestling: Use anchoring through your listing price, and framing through the existing range of prices in addition to supporting evidence to improve your tactical position, capturing the most value.

    Gift Exchange: Use bundling to aggregate value for your counterparty but do not cost you anything to provide. Software sales is a good example of where gift exchange is used particularly in the framing of sale options.

    Mining: Use questions in order to gather information about what is valuable to your counterparty and create a more valuable position for both parties. The key difference between gift exchange and mining is in the strategic (ongoing) versus tactical (one-off) nature of the negotiation and the relationship.

    More information

    The information in this event summary is a fraction of what was covered during the event. If you’d like further information or bespoke consulting and training, contact Noa Sheer, our masterclass facilitator at the below details.

    Sheer Negotiations - Bespoke training in the art and science of negotiations

    noa@sheernegotiations.com | 0410632216 | sheernegotiations.com

    Alternatively, reach out to events@yspn.org.au to speak with one of our Executive team who participated in the event to hear about their experiences.

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    Auckland Event 1: Your Career Journey with Sarv Girn

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    On Friday 4th May, YSPN Auckland held ‘Your Career Journey’, the first keynote event for 2018. The event featured Sarv Girn, arguably the highest ranking Sikh in corporate Australia and New Zealand, with the title of CIO of The Reserve Bank of Australia as one of his most recent accolades.

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      The 2018 inaugural event, hosted by the Young Sikh Professionals Network (YSPN) was opened by Sarv Girn, the CIO of The Reserve Bank of Australia. Girn has a career spanning of over 25 years within the global banking industry and is one of the highest ranking Sikhs in Corporate Australia. Sarv Girn is a banker, visionary and a truly transformative individual with firm cultural grounding as a Sikh. The ambience in the room was one of respect and awe as a person of such calibre walked to the podium with such grace and humility, resonating with the concept of ‘nimrata’ as we all hear in the Gurbani. Mr. Girn’s addressed the YSPN network with grace and humility; his interactive keynotes inspired the urge to encourage change, challenge ourselves and accelerate growth within our professional lives.

      Sarv opened his keynote by sharing with us the most significant and impactful events of his career journey with lessons learned thus far and stressed upon the idea that “education does not finish upon the completion of a degree”. Girn highlighted the importance of planning versus being spontaneous or in the moment and this resonated with most of the audience as millennials confirmed, through a show of hands, believing in ‘just do it.’

      Education doesn't finish upon the completion of a degree

      The importance of branding yourself as an individual while, detaching yourself from a comfort zone and the importance of networking were all topics that were portrayed along with examples from his own life. Girn shared with us his regret of not pursuing law because of his fear of not being able to succeed in the industry due to his cultural background.

      Girn’s life is one filled with success, failures, and opportunities. He believes that the key ingredients to having a fulfilling career are all about finding the right mentor, wise networking, practical experience and development planning. This information, to a younger audience, who at this stage were internalizing their progress, proved to be invaluable. However, as a room filled with young professionals, the consensus and conversations from the post networking event have been that this event has been the catalyst for taking ownership in their career/educational journeys for the rest of the year. The evening concluded with a question and answer session where a standard line from many was that ‘I am glad I am not in this alone’ which resonates to the modus operandi of YSPN: creating the environment where young Sikhs can succeed and amplify their influence.

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      Sydney Event 1: Defining Your Voice

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      Sydney's first event as part of the Defining Your Voice series held across the country sought to equip our members with the skills to be confident public speakers, and help them in achieving their goals in their personal and professional lives. Featuring noted panelists from Sydney's Startup scene, Lily Wu and Vaibhav Namburi, the event had over 25 attendees from different industries and experience levels. Ending in a series of speeches by members chosen as strongest among their group, the interactive workshop allowed everyone to develop their skills in a safe environment.

      The key takeaway from the event was to adapt your message to the situation.

      If this sounds like an event you would have benefited from, come along to our future events!

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      Sydney kicked off our 2018 events calendar with our Defining Your Voice series held across Australia. Featuring Lily Wu of Austern International and Vaibhav Namburi of Five2One, the event tried to give our audience the tools to be confident public speakers, with a workshop allowing them to practice what they'd learnt among their peers.

      The event also launched our theme for the year, start with a whisper, end with a roar.

      Some of the key takeaways from both speakers are below:

      Lily Wu

      • It's all about how you position a situation - the $40 bond she got as a downpayment on the shoes was actually (partially) also due to a lack of cash - i.e. a WC loan from her customers
      • It’s all about your network – 100 direct contacts = 200,000 indirect contacts
      • Defining moment for ‘finding her voice’ – realising that entrepreneurship gave her an avenue to explore her talent/passion
      • People care about your why – mould your situation according to the target audience

      Vaibhav Namburi

      • Be resilient – he failed IELTS 9 times but didn’t give up
      • Job ads means the company is desperate to find people
        • Reach out to your network first to find opportunities
      • Cold-messaging (through LinkedIn) is effective
        • Shows confidence and the drive to ‘fake it till you make it’
      • The majority of (73%) people posting about entrepreneurship are actually ‘wantrepreneuers’ – the ones actually working just work without telling everyone about it
        • Nothing wrong with not working at a job – you’ll eventually be friends with the bosses of those who are
      • You can sell all you want, but no one will buy it if you don’t know what you’re selling
        • Say what your audience wants to hear
          • Know/research your audience

      Key takeaway

      Adapt your message depending on the situation

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      YSPN Fundraising Dinner with Alex Bhathal

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      On Monday 25th February, three members of the Young Sikh Professionals Network (YSPN), among other Sikh organisations, attended a fundraising dinner to support Alex Bhathal’s campaign for the Batman By-Election. In addition to Alex, the event hosted other key members of The Greens Political Party including, Richard Di Natale (Australian Senator and Leader of the Australian Greens) and Huong Truong (First Vietnamese Australian woman to sit in an Australian Parliament).

      Ms Bhathal hopes to prevail in the Batman By-Election on 17th March, which was triggered by the resignation of the Labour MP David Feeney as a result of his dual citizenship.

      Ms Bhathal a social worker in the electorate for over 30 years has high hopes of winning the By-Election, having lost the 2016 Federal Election, by less than 2,000 votes. The result was driven largely by the proportion of Liberal preferences going to Labor. This year, the Liberal Party will not be fielding a candidate, boosting Alex’s chances.

      The event was an overwhelming success raising in excess of $10,000 in a matter of minutes and exceeding the pre-event target of $7,000. The event included speeches from numerous influential Sikh organisations; including Preet Toki, Team Lead of YSPN Melbourne who spoke about YSPN’s mission: to create the conditions for young Sikhs to succeed, and amplify their influence in the Australian Community, as well as its recent achievements.

      Ms Bhathal has been a strong supporter of YSPN, and was keynote speaker at the YSPN Annual Summit in 2016 and at a recent Event in Melbourne in November 2017. A win for Ms Bhathal will be a boost for the Sikh community and supporters of the Australian Greens, becoming the first Sikh Australian to be elected to Federal Parliament, and second member of the Australian Greens, joining Adam Bandt from the neighboring seat of Melbourne in the House of Representatives.

      YSPN Crowdfunding Campaign 2017

      In Announcements, Blog, Reflections by sakshamkapoorLeave a Comment

      YSPN are launching our 2017/18 crowdfunding campaign and we need your support to reach our $50K goal. You, our valued supporters helped us smash our $10k goal last year, and we want to go even further this year.

      With your help, in 2018 we aim to bring you:

      All-star cast of speakers and a digitised experience of our events
      Enhanced non-event offering across mentoring and content publication
      Truly global network following the early success of our first international chapter
      Don’t forget to spread the word and donate generously!

      We also have an exciting range of perks just for you including exclusive meet & greet opportunities and of course, awesome YSPN merch!

      Check it out on Chuffed.org.

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      Leadership and Diversity in a Changing Market

      In Events by Ramneek SinghLeave a Comment

      Folding his hands and greeting his entire audience with a ‘Sat Shri Akal’ was how our guest, Rashpal Bhatti, greeted and stole the attention of all the attendees during our marquee event. Donned in a crisp white turban and a finely stitched suit, no one would have imagined the Vice President Marketing (Freight) of BHP would have exuded this extent of humility to his audience.

      In his calm and soft-spoken voice, Rashpal shared with his audience that he owed his success to his parents who immigrated to Britain in the 1960s from Nairobi, Kenya. Life for his family was not a piece of cake, as they had to go through periods of racial discrimination and being ostracised by many individuals who failed to recognise their identity and respect the background they came from. That did not stop Rashpal’s parents from working hard to provide him with the best education they possibly could. This was when Rashpal’s innate drive and mission to make his parents proud began as he excelled in his academics across various renowned education institutions in Britain.

      Confidently quoting various verses from the Guru Granth Sahib and then translating it into English, Rashpal engaged the audience and shared with great conviction on the importance of humility and lifelong learning to be successful at whatever anyone pursued – one of the tenets of Sikhism. Rashpal then progressed to engage the audience with his personal experiences of being adaptive, resilient and agile to be a more effective leader in his organisation.

      During the span of his career working across various multinational organisations, Rashpal admits that his journey was far from easy. He faced several challenges but modestly admits how he overcame them by developing his resilience and his ability to rebound, managing his level of mental and emotional openness and also focussing on continuous development to bring him to where he stands today.

      Rashpal ended his talk with a famous quote from the late Sumantra Ghoshal, an Indian scholar: “Leaders are not paid to preside over the inevitable; they are paid to make it happen what otherwise would not have happened.” This quote left the entire audience in awe on how Rashpal could articulate his thoughts and communicate his experiences through a mix of spirituality, facts and faith.

      After the event, there was immense positive feedback from the audience. For Joel Lim, an intern at Navitas, said that this was the first YSPN event he attended. Beaming from ear to ear, Joel said, “I am greatly impressed by the event as well as the valuable opportunity to network with Rashpal and other honourable guests from diverse careers. I look forward to attend future events organised by YSPN Perth.”